Knife Recommendations for Female Chefs
While women have always had a cooking role, traditionally the culinary world has been dominated by males. Within the last few decades there’s been a major shift in the head cooks behind the top restaurants in the industry.
From San Francisco executive chef Dominique Crenn to Asia’s best female chef, Shanghai based DeAille Tam, so many female chefs are taking over the restaurant industry and elevating the culinary landscape.
With an influx in female cooks to more female sous chefs rising in their roles, the restaurant game is evolving from New Orleans to the Maldives. Take for example the increase in female chefs behind the world’s 50 best restaurants.
Just like the head executive chef Dominique behind Atelier Crenn, women are holding three Michelin stars under their belts these days. They make up some of the most renowned chefs and restaurateurs around the globe. Female chefs have taken control of the kitchen, but this time on their terms.
Whether or not you’re interested in Hell’s Kitchen, Top Chef, or any other celebrity chef program, you should care about female chefs. They are the ones elevating our palates, experimenting with bold flavors, and changing the culinary game.
In this article we’ll explore some of our most famous female chefs. We’ll break down the knives they either use or should be using, with some pros and cons of each. From paring knives to knife sets, we’ve got the very best knives that can elevate your cooking prep if you too are inspired by any incredible female chefs.
1. A Selection Of Famous Female Chefs
There are so many incredible female chefs making a name for themselves. We had a hard time narrowing down who to highlight because the restaurant scene is bursting with women chefs creating culinary magic. The following are some incredible women whose food has redefined the culinary arts.
Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn, Bar Crenn
French chef and three Michelin star holder, Dominique Crenn dominates the San Francisco kitchen scene with her three different restaurant endeavors. She has broken barriers as the first female chef to have ever held over two Michelan stars and as a result, is one of the most famous chefs around the world.
Widely considered the world’s best female chef, she is a celebrity chef who breaks the rules and strives to feed her community. She’s recently partnered with us at Dalstrong to ensure that her Crenn foundation can continue providing about 2,000 plates of food per week to the homeless population of San Francisco.
DeAille Tam, Obscura
Named Asia’s best female chef of 2021, DeAille Tam is a woman making a name for herself in Shanghai (and worldwide) as co-founder and executive chef of Obscura, one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants.
With a postgraduate degree in Italian cuisine and a childhood spread from Hong Kong to Canada her culinary background is richly varied. Specializing in classic Chinese flavours, Obscura elevates the tradition of Chinese food, wine, and tea, taking it to extraordinary places.
Suzanne Goin, A.O.C
Winner of the 2016 James Beard award for Outstanding Chef of the Year, Suzanne Goin is a female chef to follow. Her ability to adapt any seasonal food to perfectly fit your palate makes her an incredible cook.
Known for its outstanding wines and stellar small plates menu, A.O.C is an absolute must-visit on the Michelin Guide if you find yourself in the Los Angeles area. Note: the A.O.C cookbook has an entire section dedicated to cheese.
Margarita Manzke, Republique
Known for her scrumptious desserts and stunning baked goods, pastry chef and owner of Republique, the woman chef Margarita Manzke grew up in the restaurant world. Her family owned a restaurant in the Philippines which shaped her love of food and pastry making from a young age.
She is also the owner of Sari Sari Store, a place inside Grand Central Market that specializes in Filipino cuisine.
Hélène Darroze, Marsan and Joia
Another female chef who has three Michelin stars on this list is Hélène Darroze, a French chef who has made quite a name for herself. Starting in a professional kitchen at a young age in her family’s restaurant, she has gone on to become the executive chef and owner of several restaurants.
One of her latest endeavors combines her old grandmother’s recipes with Italian, French, and Spanish inspired small plates that welcome a community in to gather and enjoy the culinary art together.
Clare Smyth, Core
Named best female chef at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards in 2018, Clare Symth is a rockstar in the kitchen. As the woman behind the restaurant Core she became the first Northern Irish woman to have a restaurant that received three Michelin stars, which was awarded in this year’s 2021 Michelin Guide.
Her culinary endeavors range from working as patron chef behind Restaurant Gordon Ramsey to numerous prestigious awards. Clare Smyth even served as a guest judge on the cooking show The Final Table.
Carme Ruscalleda, Sant Pau
Carme Ruscalleda is one of the best female chefs to ever come out of Catalonia, one of Spain’s finest culinary regions. As the head chef behind Sant Pau (located on the seaside near Barcelona) the restaurant earned three Michelin stars.
She is also the executive chef behind Sant Pau de Tòquio, which holds two Michelin stars, making her one of the most awarded female chefs in the industry. Her Catalan dishes focus on local, seasonal ingredients and often feature some sort of literary theme.
2. Our Chef Knife Recommendations
One of the most classic knives to have in any professional kitchen is a chef knife. Known for its versatility and ability to chop easily through a thick slab of meat, or a wide range of vegetables (if you happen to be cooking vegan) the Western Chef Knife is a must-have. The following are three of the best chef knives we’d recommend to any female chef.
1. Shogun Series 12” Chef’s Knife
Made to slay on any type of cutting board, this beast of a knife is what you need in an industrial kitchen setting. With the extra few inches on the blade and a Japanese super steel core this knife is designed to chop.
- This blade is extra long, meaning it is ideal for food preparation of all kinds. Be it squash, pumpkins, or that extra huge watermelon you’ve just bought for the summer season, this knife can slice and dice anything with minimal effort.
- The ergonomic handle is engineered for ideal control and comfort, which is perfect for a chef who will be wielding a knife for long hours on end.
- Made with G-10 Garolite, this military-grade inert and non-porous fiberglass-like material will resist the heat and moisture of a restaurant kitchen unlike any other knife.
- While the extra blade allows its female chefs to slice and dice larger fruits and vegetables, many chefs will prefer a smaller blade (like this 10.25” knife) .
- It’s black and silver design is a kitchen classic, but for those female chefs who prefer a bit more flair to their kitchen tools the look may be a bit too basic.
- This knife is at the higher end of some people's budgets.
2. Shadow Black Series 8” Chef’s Knife
With a screamingly sharp cutting edge, a geometrically bold design, and full tang blade this knife is made for the boldest of the female chefs among us. Intimidating, strong, and ready to rebel, this is the kind of knife we know Dominique Crenn would be all over.
- Inspired by the F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter, these aerodynamic handle lines allow you to strike your food from every angle, while fitting snugly into the palm of your hand.
- At a more affordable price point this menacing blade is a great bang for your buck.
- Its full tang robust, expertly crafted and engineered design creates the kind of knife any female chef would be proud to hone.
- With 8 inches the blade is easier to handle than a 12 inch blade, but may not be as easy to cut larger vegetables/slabs of meat as a bigger handle.
- Its all black, geometric shape is more adventurous than your average chef's knife. But for those who prefer a classic style, this look may be slightly too adventurous.
- While ruthlessly sharp this knife uses high carbon super steel, but not the Japanese steel utilized by the Shogun Series 12” above.
3. Shogun Series X 6” Chef’s Knife
Elegant and nimble, this 6” Chef’s Knife is ideal for any smaller handed female chefs who still need the same power and tang that they’ve come to expect from the outstanding Shogun Series X.
- With a high carbon super-steel core this blade is as sharp as a scalpel and known for its outrageously long lasting edge retention.
- Its precisely tapered blade minimizes surface resistance ensuring the least amount of effort as you slice through whatever ingredients you need for that ideal dish.
- Its sleek, ergonomic handle shape creates superb agility and comfort as you slice and dice.
- The 6” blade allows for more precise slice control, but may be too small for those female head chefs who prefer a slightly larger 8” blade.
- While you can create elegant interpretations of a variety of wild foods with this elegant looking knife, its design is not the most adventurous.
- Its reasonable price point is not overwhelmingly expensive, nor the cheapest option available.
3. Our Paring Knife Recommendations
If you work in a restaurant or just like to play around in your home kitchen I cannot recommend owning a paring knife enough. Smaller than a chef’s knife, the paring knife is the perfect kitchen companion to slice and prep those fruits and vegetables we cook in every single meal.
1. Phantom Series 4" Paring Knife
As an owner of this stellar paring knife I can tell you that it has served many a female chef in my family well. Its beautifully engraved Japanese AUS-8 steel makes for a stylish and functional knife perfect for those small fruit cuts.
- Made with top of the line steel and a traditional Japanese D-shaped black pakkawood handle the design is as elegant and menacing as you’d hope.
- The ice tempered blade edge of this knife is ruthlessly sharp, allowing you to slice through your kitchen with ease.
- The 4” blade is actually slightly (about an inch or so) longer than most paring knives allowing the chef more room to play.
- This is a classic, clean paring knife that doesn’t mess around with an experimental design. It looks sharp and cuts sharp, period.
- While screamingly cheap for say a television personality, there are cheaper options in terms of price point.
2. Crusader Series 3" Bird's Beak Paring Knife Peeler
This beautiful, all steel paring knife is shaped like a bird’s beak for maximum sharpness and style. With its excellent edge retention, this is an executive chef’s dream.
- Made from German ThyssenKrupp x50crmov15 blade steel the blade is exceptionally sharp and long lasting.
- The knife’s all steel design is minimalistic and artistic, with an edge up on the competition in terms of aesthetic.
- The stylized groove along the knife reduces friction, ensuring balance and minimizing stuck on food as you chop away.
- The 3” blade is the smallest of all Dalstrong paring knives.
- While less expensive than the Dalstrong’s Phantom Series 4" Paring Knife its price point is still slightly higher than the Dalstrong’s Gladiator Series 3.5” Serrated Paring Knife.
3. Gladiator Series 3.5” Serrated Paring Knife
Different from the other paring knives on the list, this serrated paring knife offers a point of attack for those harder to cut tough-skinned fruit and vegetables.
- Its serrated edges allow you to cut through slightly stale bread, tough meats, or whatever else that needs that extra bit of serration to glide through.
- Designed for maximum comfort and maneuverability, this knife’s versatility in the kitchen is unmatched.
- The blade’s height adds that extra bit of knuckle clearance for the easiest chopping around. Making it perfect for professional chefs and home cooks alike.
- The 3.5” blade is slightly smaller than some of the 4” paring knife options.
- Made with top of the line German steel this blade is killer, but for those chefs who prefer a Japanese steel I would suggest Dalstrong’s Shogun Series 3.5” Paring Knife instead.
4. Our Nakiri & Santoku Recommendations
Cooking without proper tools is the worst. A Naikiri knife is the perfect tool to tackle all types of veggies. Whether you are a female chef, a male chef, or just someone who loves to cook delicious cuisine, a Nakiri/Santoku knife can do wonders for your home kitchen or restaurant.
1. Omega Series 7" Nakiri Knife
Perfectly crafted to slice through your farmer’s market finds, this is the knife that any chef should have in their kitchen. With scalpel-like sharpness and full tang for maximum robustness this is an investment for the future of your meal prepping game.
- The square flat tip of the blade makes push cuts as easy as pie, without losing any style points on the design.
- With ultra-premium American forged BD1N-VS hyper steel the blade is as sharp as can be while the knife remains tough, hard, and flexible all at the same time.
- The “LiquidMetal” blade pattern minimizes drag while maximizing your ability to slice through any vegetable.
- While absolutely worth the investment, in my opinion, the price point on this particular Nakiri is higher than say the Dalstrong’s Gladiator Series 7” Nakiri Knife.
- The 7” blade is an ideal size, but some might prefer a shorter blade. In that case, I’d recommend the Shogun Series X 6" Nakiri Knife.
- Classic and timeless, the black and steel combo may not be every chef’s cup of tea in terms of look.
2. Delta Wolf Series 7” Santoku Knife
If you’re looking for a triple-threat, menacing type of knife this is absolutely the ideal blade for you. Its onyx-black titanium nitride coating adds style and protection to these beautifully crafted kitchen weapons.
- The geometry of the blade with a straighter-edge profile, sharpened to perfection, allows you to slice, dice, or mince with finesse and strength.
- This Santoku is beyond stealthy and stylish with a G10 garolite handle and all black blade.
- With a groove near the spine the knife is more agile than most allowing you to chop speedily and with the utmost maneuverability.
- The bold look of the knife may not be suited for every kitchen utensil, but if you’re looking to make a statement it’s the knife for you.
- While cheaper than the Dalstrong's Omega Series 7" Nakiri Knife its price point is mid-range, meaning there are slightly cheaper options available.
3. Gladiator Series 7” Nakiri Knife
Taking the best parts of a chef’s knife and a vegetable cleaver this Nakiri Knife is an absolute vegetable slayer. With a square tip and flat profile you can chop and transfer easily, saving so much time during your meal time prep.
- The balance of this knife makes for clean, crisp, and comfortable cuts every single time. Perfect for prepping large quantities.
- You can’t beat the price point on this 7” Nakiri. It is an absolute steal.
- With its double-bevel blade and wear resistant German steel this knife brings a versatility to your kitchen that you won’t regret.
- Again, some chefs in particular may prefer a slightly smaller 6” Nakiri blade.
- I personally love the silver and black look, but if you’re looking to get more adventurous in the kitchen you may want to consider the Shadow Black Series 7" Nakiri geometric design.
5. Our Knife Set Recommendations
Any professional chef will have a stellar apron or a women’s chef coat, and a series of knives they use religiously in their culinary creations. But in their own kitchens every female chef needs a set of knives on hand that’s perfect for their own personal kitchen prep and party hosting. The following are our top picks for a fantastic set of knives.
1. Gladiator Series 5-Piece Knife Set with Modular Block
We all want our kitchen utensils to be both functional and stylish and this is the perfect combination of the two. With its handsome oak wood block and it’s spectacularly sharp 9” Slicing/Carving Knife, 9” Bread Knife, 8” Chef’s Knife, 6” Utility Knife, and 3.75” Paring Knife this set has everything a chef could need.
- This combination of knives arms your kitchen with every possible tool a chef could need. The range of blade lengths are all ultra sharp, ultra sleek, and ready to slice through whatever you need.
- With a 3.75” Paring Knife, an 8” Chef’s Knife, and a 9” Slicing/Carving Knife you can take on the smallest strawberry to the biggest slab of meat.
- The ergonomic food-grade polymer ABS handles are designed with every chef in mind to maximize comfortability, whether you’re right or left handed.
- If you already have a general knife set it’s worth your while to update it. That said, this particular set is a smorgasbord of knives. For a more specified set, consider the 8 Piece Steak Block Set.
- Precision forged and wear resistant, the single-piece, high carbon German ThyssenKrupp Steel at 56+ Rockwell is hard to beat. If you prefer a Japanese steel however, check out the Dragon Spire 6 Piece Knife Set.
2. Dalstrong’s Crusader Series Steak Knife Set
There’s nothing like whipping out your finest cookware to create a scrumptious home cooked meal for friends and family. We all know that you don’t have to be a celebrity chef to enjoy a finely cooked steak dinner. You do need a great steak knife though for your guests to be able to cut into that steak dinner. This set has you covered.
- The minimal aesthetic of these knives makes for a conversation starter at whatever dinner party you’re throwing, but the style isn’t compromised by the quality of their make.
- The knives’ blade retention and sharpness facilitates clean, precise cuts every single time.
- With it’s hygienic design you can guarantee that there is no room for debris or bacteria build up.
- While I love the high-chromium stainless steel handle that seamlessly transitions into blade, the design may seem more daring for more conservative chefs.
- This set only comes with four knives, so if you come from a large family like me you may need to invest in a few sets or choose an 8 piece steak set instead.
3. Gladiator Series 4 Piece Charcuterie Cheese Knife Set
It’s officially summertime and that means the world is ready for some killer picnic action. Whether you are entertaining friends on your patio, during sunset on some beach, or in your kitchen at home, any chef will tell you that a Charcuterie Cheese Knife Set is a necessity for entertaining.
- There’s a 3.75” mini cleaver knife that’s made for hard aged cheeses, dried fruits, or those tasty cured meats you find at specialty stores.
- The 3.75” Forked Cheese Knife has a dual-pronged tip that helps cut and transfer any type of fancy cheese your guests bring.
- The 3.75” Soft Cheese Knife is ideal for those brie lovers, while the 3.75” Rounded-Tip Serrated Cheese Knife can help you lather spreads, cheeses, and jams, helping you become the talk of the picnic circuit.
- Not only are they functional, but these knives also look really good on a cutting board full of delicious appetizer spreads. That said, they tend to be slightly larger than your average cheese knives that you can store easily in a drawer.
- If you don’t particularly enjoy cheese and meat platters (or if you are vegan) you may want to opt for a more functional block set, like this 6 piece set.
6. Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is a female chef called?
A chef, a cook (sometimes female cook), a line cook, a sous chef, the head of the kitchen, executive chef, or co executive chef depending on the position of the female who cooks. The word chef is actually gender neutral, therefore it’s not necessary to distinguish between male nor female when we talk about a person who is exceptionally skilled in the culinary arts.Who is the most famous female chef?
Some of the most famous female chefs I explained above but there are so many more. The great thing about the culinary world is that it is constantly evolving and innovating and with that come more and more incredible women in the food world.
You can also check in with our Expert Knife Finder Quiz and get specific recommendations based on your needs.
Written by Monique NicholasBased in Vancouver, Monique enjoys jumping into bodies of water, sending postcards, and adding lemon to every single one of her dishes.